Archive | POLITICS RSS feed for this section
to burke

to burke

      MEANING   – to murder in such a way as to leave no marks on the body, usually by suffocation – figuratively: to get rid of, silence, or suppress     ORIGIN   While some chose the profession of body-snatching, for others it was a more accidental career. William Burke and William […]

Continue Reading
terrorist

terrorist

  Robespierre, after guillotining France, its government and its inhabitants, guillotines Sanson [= the executioner].      original text: Robespierre, après avoir guillotiné la France, son gouvernement et ses habitants, guillotine Sanson. (18th-century caricature, from La Guillotine en 1793 (1908), by Hector Fleischmann – image: Wikimedia Commons)       By a curious twist of […]

Continue Reading
Fabian

Fabian

   the first Fabian pamphlet (1884)       Founded in 1884, the Fabian Society is a British organisation of socialists aiming to achieve socialism by gradual rather than revolutionary means. It derives its name from the Roman general and statesman Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (died 203 BC), known as Fabius Cunctator. After Hannibal’s defeat […]

Continue Reading
to tot

to tot

  To tot was a legal term meaning to mark an item in the sheriff’s list with the word tot or the letter T, showing that the amount had been levied, and was to be accounted for, by him. This verb is first recorded in 1368 in a public statute written in French: Par la […]

Continue Reading
diktat

diktat

  The signing of peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919 Sir William Orpen (1878 -1931)       MEANING   an order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent     ORIGIN   This noun is from German Diktat, meaning dictation and compulsion, command. It is from Latin […]

Continue Reading
‘pleb’

‘pleb’

  MEANING   informal and derogatory: an ordinary person, especially one from the lower social classes     ORIGIN   The noun pleb, which appeared in the late 18th century, is a shortened form of plebeian. The plural plebs, meaning the common people, dates back to the late 16th century. It is from Latin plebs/plebis, […]

Continue Reading
cabal

cabal

  Charles II (circa 1653) by Philippe de Champaigne       MEANINGS a secret or exclusive set of people a small group of intriguers, especially one formed for political purposes a secret plot, especially a political one     ORIGIN   The English word Kabbala, also spelt Kabbala, Cabbala, Cabala, or Qabalah, which dates […]

Continue Reading
Albion

Albion

  The name Albion did not originally refer to the white cliffs of Dover. (photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Fanny)       The name Albion first appeared in English in the very first sentence of the first Book of the 9th-century translation of Historia ecclesiastica gentis anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) originally written by the English monk, theologian […]

Continue Reading

red herring

    MEANING   a clue or piece of information which is, or is intended to be, misleading or distracting     ORIGIN   A red herring is a dried smoked herring, which is turned red by the smoke. The figurative usage of the term originally referred to the former practice of laying trails for […]

Continue Reading
white elephant

white elephant

  a royal white elephant (Thai painting)       MEANING   A white elephant is a burdensome or costly objective, enterprise, or possession, especially one that appears magnificent.     ORIGIN   FALSE ORIGIN   According to a widespread theory, this figurative sense of white elephant refers to the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) would make […]

Continue Reading
1...345678

Unblog.fr | Créer un blog | Annuaire | Signaler un abus